Jack writes about missing Motegi, how he broke his leg, and why he’s right to ride for his home GP next weekend.
How long has it been since I watched MotoGP on TV during the day? So long I can’t even remember. It kind of sucks to be watching and not riding, but sitting at home at my parents’ place in Townsville while the race was going on in Japan was just weird. And on a day like that with the weather up there – made me even more frustrated, because I usually go pretty well in those conditions. But there is good news around the corner – Phillip Island is next week, and I’ll be right for it.
The leg is pretty good. Almost 100 per cent, I’d say. I’ve been out on the pushbike three times now since I’ve been home and had some decent-sized rides, so I’m pretty happy with how it’s coming along. I’ve been doing a fair bit of physio to get the swelling out, and the cycling has been good because it’s low impact and working on motion to get the leg back working properly again. I’ve got to get used to carrying some metal around in me for a while, because there’s a plate and eight screws down the side of my right tibia, and they’ll be in there until next Christmas, not the one coming up – they’ll be in there a full year, until the end of 2018. I asked about getting it all out sooner, or as soon as possible, and they advised me not to. So they’ll do a full season with me next year.
The weird thing is, especially when you think what I do for a job, breaking my leg the way I did was such a nothing accident. I was out with Maverick (Vinales), (Alex) Rins and (Fabio) Quartararo doing some trails riding in Andorra and I put my right foot down because the front wheel washed out, like it’s done a million times before, on a grassed slope. As I did that, it jarred my leg and gave me a massive hematoma above the knee, and then below the knee, the tibia just split. I guess when I threw my leg out to save the front, the leg was loose and the muscles weren’t tight, and the bone just cracked. I’ve done way worse before plenty of times, and not even felt a thing. We were the furthest point away from where we started riding that day, so I had to ride back with a broken leg and roll down the hills. It didn’t even hurt, but looking above the top of my knee, I just thought it might be dislocated. So much for that.
I’m not sure what I physically have to do when I get to Phillip Island to be formally passed to race next weekend – I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it – but I’ve got no dramas whatever I have to do. I’ve made massive progress over the last week, and I could go out running right now if I needed to. It’s not just that it’s Australia that I’m ready to get back racing next weekend – wouldn’t matter where it was, I’d be right to ride. A bonus that I get to come back for my home race, of course, but it’s not like I’m only coming back because it’s the Island. I’ll be ready.
The race at Motegi, even though I hated watching it on the couch, was pretty interesting with another last-lap fight between ‘Dovi’ (Andrea Dovizioso) and Marc (Marquez), and with ‘Dovi’ winning the fight again like he did in Austria. It was an incredible finish again, and you have to hand it to ‘Dovi’, he’s definitely riding smart. His tyres were shot, you could see how hard it was for him to get the bike stopped in the downhill 90-degree corner with it aquaplaning, and you knew Marc was going to have a go in the last corner, even though he was so close to that white line in the inside, and anything could have happened there. But good TV for sure, even though I would have preferred to be not be watching the TV …
It’s all about the week ahead now, and getting to the Island in a few days. The pressure and attention and all of that can get to some people with their home race, but this week coming up is my favourite one of the year. I can’t wait to be back down there at the Island – the track is one thing, but the fans, the people, all the faces you know … the atmosphere is my favourite and I miss it every year, and it always seems to go too fast when you’re there. But I love that race so much, so can’t wait to get down there and have a crack at it again. Someone told me the weather was pretty good there on Sunday, which means next Sunday it’ll probably be 11 degrees and pissing down. Hopefully not! But I can’t wait to get back – and I’ll see a fair few of you down there, by the sounds of things.
This story originally appeared on redbull.com
Photos courtesy of Marc VDS.